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Commercial Pilot - Primarily DJI - Considering Purchase of Skydio 2+

JimBrammer

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I am an experienced commercial drone pilot, flying Autel and DJI drones, focused on aerial photo/video work for commercial real estate, inspections and marketing. I'm considering the purchase of a Skydio 2+ and have three questions:

1) I don’t really have Clients asking for follow me or tracking shots, which I know the Skydio excels at. Beyond that, is there a business case for a drone service provider like me to purchase the Skydio 2+?

2) I’ve read some articles saying the Skydio 2/2+ is great at autonomous flight but not so good if you want to control it manually for a specific shot. Can anyone share their experience about flying the Skydio 2/2+ manually?

3) I sense that the camera resolution on the Skydio 2+ is limited due to the relatively small 1/2.3” sensor size and 12.3MP resolution. I’ve also read that it has some fisheye distortion. What is your opinion about the photo/video quality versus DJI Mavic 2 Pro, DJI Mavic 3 and/or Autel Evo Pro?

Appreciate any info you can provide.
 

kenmavic2zoom

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if you are a drone enthusiast, you buy the skydio 2+ because it's the latest greatest technology and it's unique to skydio so you want to becomes familiar with it today instead of tomorrow when the other manufacturers adopt it. follow me and tracking....great, but i think of the skydio as the drone that doesn't crash when you operate it in tight places where other drones might have a problem. if you get the controller (and not try to fly the drone with your phone or the beacon), i don't see why it isn't easy to manually fly. it's never going to exceed the manual flight of the other drones but again, i think it can go places where you might hesitate otherwise. the video is superb but let's face it, it's not a evo 2 pro 6k or anything that great. the best cinematic video was not shot on a skydio drone. i have the e2p6k, s2+, mavic2 and love them in that order. honestly you probably dont "need" one but it would be nice to have.
 

JimBrammer

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if you are a drone enthusiast, you buy the skydio 2+ because it's the latest greatest technology and it's unique to skydio so you want to becomes familiar with it today instead of tomorrow when the other manufacturers adopt it. follow me and tracking....great, but i think of the skydio as the drone that doesn't crash when you operate it in tight places where other drones might have a problem. if you get the controller (and not try to fly the drone with your phone or the beacon), i don't see why it isn't easy to manually fly. it's never going to exceed the manual flight of the other drones but again, i think it can go places where you might hesitate otherwise. the video is superb but let's face it, it's not a evo 2 pro 6k or anything that great. the best cinematic video was not shot on a skydio drone. i have the e2p6k, s2+, mavic2 and love them in that order. honestly you probably dont "need" one but it would be nice to have.
Thank you kenmavic2zoom - much appreciated!
 

Saladshooter

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I don't feel that it would be particularly useful for a commercial pro. It has some features that might work well for inspections but they are limited to the Skydio Enterprise software which costs an additional $1500 per year.

Screen Shot 2022-01-25 at 11.38.30 PM.png
 

Sky Cyclist

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I am an experienced commercial drone pilot, flying Autel and DJI drones, focused on aerial photo/video work for commercial real estate, inspections and marketing. I'm considering the purchase of a Skydio 2+ and have three questions:

1) I don’t really have Clients asking for follow me or tracking shots, which I know the Skydio excels at. Beyond that, is there a business case for a drone service provider like me to purchase the Skydio 2+?

2) I’ve read some articles saying the Skydio 2/2+ is great at autonomous flight but not so good if you want to control it manually for a specific shot. Can anyone share their experience about flying the Skydio 2/2+ manually?

3) I sense that the camera resolution on the Skydio 2+ is limited due to the relatively small 1/2.3” sensor size and 12.3MP resolution. I’ve also read that it has some fisheye distortion. What is your opinion about the photo/video quality versus DJI Mavic 2 Pro, DJI Mavic 3 and/or Autel Evo Pro?

Appreciate any info you can provide.

What you know is already clear and correct and close to the real uses.

My two cents:

(1) Active tracking drone

If you're not in a hurry to own an active tracking drone, wait for the next-gen Skydio 3. (reason: Skydio 2's camera is not that good...)

If you want to have an active tracking drone, then consider the Sports Kits and enjoy the new flight experience with the Beacon.

(2) Manual flight

It's not just what people say, it's what it actually is.

You are an experienced pilot, so put these questions to do an examination of your future Skydio 2+ flight.

Be safe.

(2-1) How much time do you need obstacle avoidance? Do you need the option to turn off obstacle avoidance? (The OA of Skydio 2/2+ is not able to turn off)

(2-2) When launching the drone, will you like the drone just to hover wherever you want it to be 100% or will you like the drone to fly itself, turn around, and film you automatically?

Skydio 2 drone will fly itself and you would need to be prepared and aware of this very seriously. Its flight path cannot be 100% predicted and controlled. It will be more suitable for use in open areas.

In places that are not so open, most of the time, I use other drones for missions.

I have Skydio 2 and some of the others. This is my real experience and just for your reference.
 
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JimBrammer

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I don't feel that it would be particularly useful for a commercial pro. It has some features that might work well for inspections but they are limited to the Skydio Enterprise software which costs an additional $1500 per year.

View attachment 782
Got it - Thanks Saladshooter! Nice to know about Enterprise Features. Looks like Close Proximity, Precision Mode and Vertical View might come in handy for close up inspection work on things like bridges, cell towers, power transmission towers, etc. Have you used any of these features for inspection work?
 

LivinLarge

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One thing to consider is that Skydio does not use a compass so there are no worries about flying around or through large metal structures which would confuse other drones.
 

JimBrammer

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What you know is already clear and correct and close to the real uses.

My two cents:

(1) Active tracking drone

If you're not in a hurry to own an active tracking drone, wait for the next-gen Skydio 3. (reason: Skydio 2's camera is not that good...)

If you want to have an active tracking drone, then consider the Sports Kits and enjoy the new flight experience with the Beacon.

(2) Manual flight

It's not just what people say, it's what it actually is.

You are an experienced pilot, so put these questions to do an examination of your future Skydio 2+ flight.

Be safe.

(2-1) How much time do you need obstacle avoidance? Do you need the option to turn off obstacle avoidance? (The OA of Skydio 2/2+ is not able to turn off)

(2-2) When launching the drone, will you like the drone just to hover wherever you want it to be 100% or will you like the drone to fly itself, turn around, and film you automatically?

Skydio 2 drone will fly itself and you would need to be prepared and aware of this very seriously. Its flight path cannot be 100% predicted and controlled. It will be more suitable for use in open areas.

In places that are not so open, most of the time, I use other drones for missions.

I have Skydio 2 and some of the others. This is my real experience and just for your reference.
Thank you Sky Cyclist. All good advice and I think I'll hold out for Skydio 3 with the better camera.
 

ETdronehome

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@JimBrammer

One of your initial questions was “I’ve read some articles saying the Skydio 2/2+ is great at autonomous flight but not so good if you want to control it manually for a specific shot. Can anyone share their experience about flying the Skydio 2/2+ manually?”

I would agree with the autonomous flight capabilities but if you fly the S2 or I assume the 2+ with the controller I would say it can be as precise as you have the dexterity to fly it. With it’s solid OA it will limit how close you can get to something and that can take some getting used to but the range where it refuses to move is a few feet away from any stationary object that has enough contrast to have the OA work properly. Certainly close enough with a 4K camera to likely capture any detail you need.

The only potential limiting factor in fine detail is the lack of any “zoom” capability in the current camera - consumer level software environment. I’m not sure if post flight editing can crop in to deal with that.

Skydio continues to offer a 30 day from day of receipt for money back minus any return shipping. NOTE crash insurance non- refundable. Likely worth a try to see if it will work for you.

I’m not sure it’s prudent to speculate on what or when a S3 will be. Sure lots of rumour about it but you can’t run a business on that imo.
 
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VEGASROBBI

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I find the camera on my S2 better than my Mavic 2 Zoom but it's probably not as good as the higher end DJI camera's.

One thing many consider "precision" is DJI's VPS or vision positioning system. VPS uses downward facing camera's to get a rock solid hover and slow speed maneuvering as implemented by several manufacturers.

Skydio seems to have skipped VPS and depend solely on OA and GPS. I've often wondered why Skydio doesn't use VPS but VPS loses it at higher speeds, high flight angles, over water.... My DJI drones drift when out of VPS range similar to my S2.

It would be nice to have VPS during landing as my S2 drifts a few feet in any direction.
 

Saladshooter

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Looks like Close Proximity, Precision Mode and Vertical View might come in handy for close up inspection work on things like bridges, cell towers, power transmission towers, etc. Have you used any of these features for inspection work?
No, I won't pay the extra money as I don't think they would be useful enough.

If you are looking to do inspections.... the Skydio has a couple of great features but lacks many others. There is no compass so it can get closer to metal objects without getting messed up and if you were to pay for it, it can look straight up.

What cripples the Skydio for inspections is it drifts in place quite a bit. making it dangerous or difficult to use in tight areas. It is possible that the Precision Mode fixes this but I doubt it.

It would be nice to have VPS during landing as my S2 drifts a few feet in any direction.
I hand launch and catch my Skydio 2 every time partly because of this lack of precision. I will land it on the ground if the wind is moving it enough to make me nervous but very infrequently. I got in the habit because its hard to find flat ground in the places I fly so the Skydio complains that the area is unsuitable for takeoff and the downward facing props are always clipping something on landing.

The Case landing feature is a cute gimmick but not worth the time to line the drone up to make it work when you can forget about all of that and grab the Skydio out of the sky.
 

fjschuler

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Up until recently, I used DJI products exclusively. I have a Skydio 2 and I fly it exclusively in manual mode. I played with the beacon just for the experience, but I would never use it on a job (I don't trust its obstacle avoidance capabilities, honestly). The work I do basically amounts to real estate inspections and b-roll landscape footage where there is a safe distance between the aircraft and the subject. I think it does a fine job of that. The only issue I have had is a lack of control range...which is supposed to be greatly improved on the 2+. And, I agree with @Saladshooter that the position hold is not terribly precise. If you expect to be a safe distance from the subject, that may not be much of an issue. But, if you need to get close (within 10 feet or so) of the subject, things could get a little dicey.
 

JoeydDetroit

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I am an experienced commercial drone pilot, flying Autel and DJI drones, focused on aerial photo/video work for commercial real estate, inspections and marketing. I'm considering the purchase of a Skydio 2+ and have three questions:

1) I don’t really have Clients asking for follow me or tracking shots, which I know the Skydio excels at. Beyond that, is there a business case for a drone service provider like me to purchase the Skydio 2+?

2) I’ve read some articles saying the Skydio 2/2+ is great at autonomous flight but not so good if you want to control it manually for a specific shot. Can anyone share their experience about flying the Skydio 2/2+ manually?

3) I sense that the camera resolution on the Skydio 2+ is limited due to the relatively small 1/2.3” sensor size and 12.3MP resolution. I’ve also read that it has some fisheye distortion. What is your opinion about the photo/video quality versus DJI Mavic 2 Pro, DJI Mavic 3 and/or Autel Evo Pro?

Appreciate any info you can provide.
1: you can use the new keyframe skill to set up amazing custom dramatic views of real estate
2: you will get best results using the controller, sadly Skydio engineers seem to be apple fanboys and don't support android USB very well, a massively growing list of androids can't be used with the controller so you will want to have an apple product with the controller.
3: my Skydio 2 shoots in 4K and has amazing video quality. never noticed any fisheyeness. I don't have the other ones you mentioned so I can't compare but The video it saves on the onboard chip is amazing crisp 4K 60. There's a a wide range of ISO and F-stop settings which along with the available 3-magnetic snap-on ND gels You can pretty much design the shot you want.

The Skydio 2 has very sophisticated object avoidance and any drone that costs over a thousand dollars and you want to depend on it for your livelihood is too expensive to be crashing into ****.
 
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